Every wedding is special and the most important event of the bride and groom’s lives, but at the same time every wedding is different. After all only selected few get to attend, not to mention be part of a royal wedding. It doesn’t matter what kind of wedding you get to attend, though, you still want to look your best while at the same time fitting right in with the rest of the party, so it’s important to read the invitation carefully and to pay attention to detail while getting ready.

The bride knows all the plans, since she’s the one making them, so she knows exactly what kind of wedding gown to get depending on the type of wedding she’ll be having. She’ll also make sure the bridesmaid dresses are right for an outdoor wedding or a lavish reception, and she’ll most likely keep the mothers and close relatives advised as to what will work best for her special day. For everybody else, the invitation is the main source of information, which is why it’s imperative to read it in full, but it won’t hurt to have some dressing up and down tricks ready for the day in question.

Formal wedding will mention black tie or evening attire, so if you find those words on your invitation, you can head straight for the long dresses at your favorite formal store. The later in the day the ceremony starts, the safer it is to pick out an evening gown. All you have to remember is to stay clear of white and black, as they are bride and groom colors, and to find out the color of the bridesmaid dresses so you can avoid it as well.

For an informal afternoon wedding, a summer dress will be your best choice, since it will be formal enough for the ceremony and relaxed enough for the reception afterwards. Color rules are the same, no white, black or bridesmaid dress shade, but beyond that you’ll have more freedom as you can opt for patterns, playful cuts or funky accessories. Just make sure the dress doesn’t show too much skin and that even though it’s relaxed, it still looks perfectly polished for such a special occasion.

The tricky part starts when the invitation is not very clear and you don’t know how formal or informal to get with your clothes. This is when accessories and classics are your best friend. If you like to be on a safe side, a pretty suit or a simple one-color dress will be just right for the wedding. To play it up a bit, reach for a funky hat or bold jewelry that you can always leave in the car once you see what the other guests are wearing or sport it to the ceremony looking and feeling like you belong to the last thread.

Looking good at a wedding is important for everybody, the wedding party and the guests alike, but it’s not the most important thing. The most important is to share in the joy, so even if you happen to misread the invitation and you initially feel out of place, remember that you can take some jewelry off to look less formal, put your hair up with a few bobby pins to look more elegant, but as long as you do it with a smile on your face, nobody will be the wiser.